Ascent of Pico de la Capilla on 2010-11-07

Climber: Rob Woodall

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Sunday, November 7, 2010
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Pico de la Capilla
    Elevation:3891 ft / 1185 m

Ascent Trip Report

I found no information on this peak beforehand, but examining 1:50k mapping, several trailheads are apparent.
(1) From the south. From the village of Valle de Abdalagis a narrow road heads W, paved for approx 3km. From here an unpaved road / track heads NW from a fork to (presumably) gain the W ridge of the mountain. I suspect this is the normal ascent route.
(2) From the NW, an unpaved road climbs to meet the track from (1), again potentially accessing the W ridge. Nearest point of access by vehicle unknown.
(3) The shortest approach is from the NE. A minor road climbs W from the main Antequera - Valle de Abdalagis road. In 1km a rough steep track is reached with space for about 2 vehicles at the start. N36.95762 W4.70022, 556m (GPSr).

This was my 3rd summit of the day and with limited time I chose the shortest route, (3). The NE face of the mountain rears up dramatically with a wall of limestone cliffs. However, the 1:50k map contours indicate a more gentle slope at the W (R) end of these cliffs and from the trailhead this appeared to be the case, and not having time to attempt the potentially easier route (1) from the village I decided to give it a try. The mapped track is totally unsuitable for cars but provides a good hiking route up through the dense low aromatic vegetation to the base of the main climb. It finally turns R (west) and runs out at about 700m. The end of the path is tricky to find in descent – a GPS waypoint here is useful. Above here, I scrambled up and right (generally SW) across moderately steep blocky limestone, looking for a place where the cliffs receded to a point where an ascent could be made. I chose a gully at N36.95400 W4.70620, 775m (GPSr at top of gully): steep but fairly easy scrambling (YDS 3, easier in descent as it turned out). It is essential to be able to find this point in descent – it is not at all obvious from above. I took several waypoints including this key one, and also recorded a GPS track. Once above the cliffs, the climb continues as a more or less intact limestone pavement, deeply fissured and sloping at about 40 degrees. I walked / scrambled up this (YDS 2+, sometimes easy YDS 3), reaching a small saddle just SW of a small rocky summit. From here, easy rubbly ground leads to the NE top, 1129m on the map (N36.94677 W4.70908, 1124m GPSr). From here, the summit itself can at last be seen, with an attractive rocky connecting ridge. After a short descent the ridge can be followed, mainly walking or easy scrambling (YDS 2+) but with one exposed move across a gap. In calm conditions most people would jump across this, although with a gusty wind blowing I played for safety and scrambled across maintaining 3-point contact (easy YDS 3).

The summit (N36.94271 W4.71417 , 1183m, GPSr) has a shapely cairn and a fine view, including the distant dome of Torrecilla and attractive nearer hills. The West ridge appears straightforward i.e. routes (1) and (2) above should work.

After a few minutes at the summit I headed back down. The rough steep descent to the cliff band is a little tricky in terms of direction finding. There is a small / ruined building visible just beyond the foot of the slope – aiming at this gave roughly the right direction, then the GPS waypoint located the top of the descent gully itself. The next target is the end of the path – I had a GPS track to follow but a waypoint would have been useful. Once back on the path (the only runnable part of the route), I was soon back at the car.

Ascent and descent times were identical at 55 minutes. Time now to re-pack my luggage before the 1 hour drive to Malaga airport for the late evening flight home. This was an excellent ascent and a perfect way to round off a winter weekend in Andalucia.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2162 ft / 658 m
    Extra Gain:49 ft / 14 m
    Round-Trip Distance:3.2 mi / 5.1 km
    Route:NE ridge
    Trailhead:Minor rd WNW of Cortijo de Granadina  1827 ft / 556 m
    Grade/Class:YDS 3
    Quality:8 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Scramble
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Time:55 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:55 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Rob Woodall
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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